The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd edition) provides evidence-based recommendations for youths and adults to safely get the physical activity they need to stay healthy.
There are updated guidelines for older adults, adults with chronic health conditions, and adults with disabilities. The United States currently has low levels of adherence to the guidelines: only 26% of men, 19% of women, and 20% of adolescents meet the recommendations.
According to the guidelines, these low levels of physical activity among Americans have health and economic consequences for the nation, with nearly $117 billion in annual healthcare costs and 10% of all premature mortality attributable to failure to meet levels of aerobic physical activity recommended in the guidelines.
Adults need 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week, with muscle strengthening activities on 2 days during the week to stay healthy. Youth ages 6 through 17 need 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day.
- The previous guidelines stated that only 10-minute bouts of physical activity counted toward meeting the guidelines. This requirement has been removed because all activity counts.
- There are immediate health benefits, attainable from a single bout of activity, including reduced anxiety and blood pressure, improved quality of sleep, and improved insulin sensitivity.
- There are more long-term benefits from physical activity, including improved brain health, reduced risk of eight types of cancer (previously two), reduced risk for fall-related injuries in older adults, and reduced risk of excessive weight gain.
- Physical activity helps manage more chronic health conditions.
- It can decrease pain for those with osteoarthritis, reduce disease progression for hypertension and type 2 diabetes, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve cognition for those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.